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on 3 January 2012
This Low-cost hand scanner is one of the most useful bits of kit I possess. I always pack it into my netbook bag when I'm on a trip although if you need to travel light, you can pack just the scanner alone in a pocket, to perform your scanning - say at a library - and download the scans (in JPG format) to your PC later back at base. This supreme portability is just one of this scanner's really excellent features. Another is that it can be used with a PC running Windows or a MAC running MAC OS because its JPG files can be transferred via its Micro-SD card (a low cost SD adaptor card may be required) or via the included USB cable. This scanner is made in China and marketed under various brand names and for a wide range of prices. Use Google Image search to locate potential sources.

There are 3 Buttons and a small LCD.
1. POWER - A LONG Press of the POWER switch places the scanner in STANDBY Mode and activates the LCD. Thereafter, short presses of the same button puts the scanner in and out of SCAN Mode.
2. C/BW - Pressing one end of a rocker switch toggles the 'Effect' between COLOR and MONO (Greyscale). If in doubt, use COLOR although the resultant image file is much larger.
3. DPI - Pressing the opposite end of the rocker switch toggles the Resolution between LOW (300dpi) and HIGH (600dpi)

The LCD shows the current settings in use, battery status (using bars) and the number of images stored on the MicroSD Card. This card is inserted in a 'Push to Insert-Push to Eject' slot in the side of the scanner.

Images are stored on a MicroSD Card (not supplied). A 1GB MicroSD Card stores the following approximate number of images:

LOW Resolution Mono 1280 images
LOW Resolution Colour 780 images
HIGH Resolution Mono 290 images
HIGH Resolution Colour 220 images

Assuming the subject to be scanned is held flat on a smooth surface...
1. Press and hold the Power button to turn the scanner ON
2. Adjust the settings if necessary using the rocker switch alongside the small LCD screen.
3. Press the POWER button again to enter SCAN Mode. A GREEN LED is illuminated.
4. Roll the scanner slowly and in a parallel motion across the subject. If you scan too fast a RED ERROR LED illuminates and you will need to restart the action (return to 3 above)
5. Press the Power button after each SCAN to store the image on the MicroSD card and to place the scanner in STANDBY Mode.
6. Press and hold the Power button when scanning is completed to turn the scanner OFF. Alternatively, leave it for a few minutes and it will automatically turn itself OFF.

Looking at the bottom face of the scanner, the scanning window and the rollers that signal the Scanning Light ON and OFF are positioned at opposite sides. This mean that the rollers may run off the edge of the page (and signal the scanner to STOP) before it has scanned the full text width. This is especially noticeable when scanning a book with narrow margins.

To help overcome this issue, I always scan from RIGHT to LEFT when holding the scanner in a normal position. For example, when scanning the pages of a book I usually start with a LEFT HAND page and with the scanner at the extreme RIGHT side of the page (in the valley between the pages). To scan the RIGHT HAND page I rotate the book through 180 degrees and repeat the above process scanning from RIGHT to LEFT. Of course, you will later need to use your graphics software to rotate some of the scans to their normal orientation.

There are two choices:
1. USB Cable - Use the supplied USB cable to connect the scanner to a PC (the scanner appears as a Storage Device)
2. Inserting the MicrosSD Card directly into a slot in the PC. For this you will probably need to buy a MicroSD to SD Card adaptor although many MicroSD cards are supplied with a free adapter. The adaptors are extremely low cost.

Abbyy's Screenshot Reader is truly brilliant software and is very simple to use. It is not MAC compatible but works with Windows XP onwards (I use it on my Windows 7 netbook). I was so impressed that I bought the full version that has some extra bells and whistles.

For a start you can use this software even without the scanner. For example it can capture ANYTHING displayed on your PC's screen - text, graphics or a mixture of both. Small or large. You can even use it to OCR the text of this review and place it straight into an editable WORD document!

But let's assume you're writing a disertation or thesis and want to quote some text from a rare and expensive book. You've scanned the book in a library and you've displayed the scanned image on the screen. Open ABBYY and put it into Text (OCR - Optical Character recognition) Mode. It recognises 40 different languages (including Japanese) with full dictionary support and a further 109 languages (including Welsh) but you do need to specify the language you want to read. Select the relevant text by clicking and dragging the mouse across the chosen part of the screen. On release of the mouse button, ABBYY immediately converts what it has read into MS Word-compatible TEXT. Let's say you've set ABBYY to transfer the 'Text to Clipboard' (you can also set it automatically to open a new WORD document and to insert the text). Next, open the MS Word document where you want to place the scanned text. Right Click the mouse and select PASTE and the text appears in your Word document as fully editable text.

You can read more about this ABBYY software here: [...]
1. Carry a couple of spare AA batteries though I wouldn't say the scanner was power hungry; two AAs last for well over 100 scans.
2. Keep an SD-Card adaptor in the bottom of the storage pouch for convenient PC transfer.
3. Take a couple of scans of each subject just in case.
4. For a more parallel scanning motion, try gripping the scanner with both hands and drawing it slowly towards you across the subject.
5. When using ABBYY Screenshot Reader to OCR text off the screen, I find it's best to zoom in until your chosen text is as big as possible on the screen. Although ABBYY very accurately reads text at small sizes, you can be assured of minimal OCR errors if you scan LARGE text in the first instance.

AREAS TO IMPROVE (I deducted ONE STAR for these)
To be frank, at this price, it would be unreasonable to demand too much but...

1. ... as an engineer, I just know the scanner's parallel action would be much easier to create if the rollers were larger - much larger (let's say 6mm diameter).
2. Even dodgy distorted scans could be usable if the scanner came with some simple software to 'straighten out' any distorted image scans.
3. The LCD is not illuminated and is difficult to read in ill-lit rooms.

But hey! It's incredible value and as a researcher, it's been doing the business for me reliably since November 2010.
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on 14 February 2013
Even though the product seems to be working well, it is missing some of the functions advertised. Most notably the option to switch between PDF and JPG.
Instead of picking the format, you can switch between Color & Black/White.

The pouch that was sent, is also not the same as included in the photo.
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on 7 May 2012
Bought this for a gift after having previously bought a more expensive one for myself. Recipient was delighted, both models work exactly the same, quick, easy to use,resolution quality was great. Even scanned a colourful kids t-shirt ( while being worn)and it's being used as a screensaver!
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on 1 February 2012

All documentation in Chinese only

fortunately the pictures are sufficient


Compact easy to use giving good quality results.


You should watch the You Tube demo

make sure the material to be scanned is on a suitable surface so it does not move during the scan.

Keep a constant speed as much as possible without skewing the scanner and good results will be obtained.

As good as this device is, it's not a replacement for a flat bed scanner.
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on 8 November 2012
Having seen the price of handheld scanners I was dubious. Reviews here swayed me to try it. I was not disappointed. My instructions are in English and very clear. I set the format 2GB SD card first using a very thin screwdriver in the side hole and saw no blinking on the LCD. I thought it had failed but it works. I set the resolution to high and was scanning within minutes of opening the box (which is extremely well packaged). This review is mainly to add one thing I have not seen on the others. The quality, looks and performance of this item have been well reviewed. Do I have an upgraded model? There is no C/BW toggle on mine. It has a choice of JPEG/PDF. Both work fine in colour. Black and white obviously will still scan as B/W, so it is fine with me. If you want a handheld scanner, this is it.
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on 17 October 2012
Given the price I paid for this item I wasn't expecting a whole lot, but I was instantly impressed by it. It will not compete with a flatbed scanner, though with care you can still take reasonable scans of colour photos. The trick with this is in getting the item you are scanning to stay still.

Because I wanted this item to turn my boxes of loose paper into digitised images so I could shred them, it is more than upto the task. Scanning in a straight line is not perfect but with basic care results are more than adequate for written or printed pages. On mono low res mode you can also scan reasonably quickly, 2-3 seconds maximum for an A4 sheet.

Note that the scanning width of the unit is a fraction over the width of an A4 page, not the height of it. So you scan pages from top to bottom not side to side. If, like me, you want to scan from bottom to top then you must rotate the scanner, which is unnatural because you can't see the display, otherwise you end up with inverted images. Also it misses the end of every page because the motion sensor is a little away from the image sensor and falls off the end of the page.

Scanning A4 sheets is best done by placing them on top of an A3 so you can scan the whole thing. Recipets and business cards will need to be put inside an unused laminating pouch or under an acetate (If you live in the 80s.)

Interestingly the scanner seems to know if you start the scan before placing it down on the paper, and it doesn't get upset if you lift it off the page at the end before pressing the button to end the scan, the images still come out quite clean and well cropped and I have a high degree of trust that my image is captured properly.

As you can see the unit won't recharge from USB. Battery life is not brilliant, you will need to keep spares, but perhaps that's better than having to bring USB charging kit, YMMV.

Slight disadvantages that could be improved:
1) You can't cancel a botched scan, it stays on the card and you can only delete it when you put it into your computer;
2) You have to stop the scan and start a new one by pressing the button twice, and there's a delay, it would be nicer to be able to scan sheets in quicker succession, but it's not major;
3) A bigger scan area would help a lot with magazines;
4) Difficult to scan near the spine if scanning down instead of out from spine and scanning out might not work if the magazine is taller than the scan area.

All in all for the price I paid I wouldn't part with this, it makes doing expenses, retaining bills, scanning hand drawn diagrams etc a pleasure. And storage space isn't a problem, you won't need a very big SD card unless you're doing some crazy amount of work with it.
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on 1 August 2012
I bought this device in order to scan book and newspapers in libraries or at other folk's houses. Its thin profile makes it possible to get into the fold of thick books avoiding the inevitable distortions with a flat bed scanner.

The model must be moving on, because the one I received, although its the same type number, has a higher spec than listed. It scans 300, 600 and 900 dpi. There's no B&W setting but it can now scan to PDF, which must be a boon for some, though not me. The instructions are for the older model, but the box is labelled correctly.

I'm still getting the hang of smooth and straight scrolling to ensure an even and square image. Takes a bit of practice.

Scanning is really quick and the quality is impressive. Excellent value.
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on 20 July 2013
I got this as a bit of an experiment and when my old flatbed scanner had died. I was hoping it might prove better than the flatbed at copying pages from thick books where there is difficulty avoiding distortion at the centre binding.

First issue: the description when I bought this claimed it had a scan mode for direct to pdf - it doesn't, the only file format captured by the scanner is jpeg. Well, that's not a massive deal as it's easy enough to print jpegs to pdf with free software, it's just irritating. The supplier did offer to take back, but it all seemed too much hassle at the time as I was just going away on holiday etc etc. My exact model is labelled SKYPIX TSN410

Second more substantial issue: I don't seem to get great scans out of this - need to try a few times to get the quality I want without bits being missed or distorted. This maybe that my technique is not good enough and I haven't persisted adequately, I'm not sure - I was trying to scan A4 size past paper questions - so needed stuff to be just right. Personally I didn't find it that easy to move the device smoothly and steadily enough for consistently accurate imaging. Definitely, per other reviews, it's best to use the low DPI setting as higher setting just makes scanner more fussy about your scanning technique. If not moving smoothly/ appropriately it also developed a habit of automatically ending the scan. I resolved this with a re-boot, but am beginning to think that I may have a Friday afternoon model...

Third: Avoiding distortion at the centre binding and scanning a full length page in any book is actually quite tricky as the scanner is 25mm longer than the imager at one end and about 13mm longer at the other end, so the closest you can get the actually imaging device to the centre fold is about 14mm - it turns out with depth of pages and depth of margin, this is often not quite good enough, so it's probably not really better than a flatbed scanner for this. Also to use with the 14mm end at centre fold means scanning half the pages either from bottom to top, or with the rollers which are to help you scan smoothly initially off the page for half your pages which provides a further challenge to smooth scanning...

So in summary probably pretty effective at scanning single sheets on a flat table, rather harder when attempting to use on pages of books. I think from other people's reviews that the supplier has a bit of a random mix of models which change between resolutions offered, pdf modes etc and that they're not too bothered about matching orders accurately to description and also that the individual devices may vary in quality and effectiveness significantly. I thought having a mobile scanning device would be an interesting idea to try, but with hindsight reckon I'd have been better spending and extra £25 or so for a flatbed scanner and just use my camera for mobile imaging - if you have a high enough resolution camera in your mobile phone, then that's probably going to do as good a job as this, esp if you find some decent software for cleaning up jpeg into your other desired file formats.
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on 13 February 2012
This scanner is a really handy product.Couldn't get the Abbyy software that comes with it to load on my Pc, so sent an email to the supplier.Had to do this several times and they always answered within 12 hours.Turned out it was my PC at fault.I do have a printer/scanner as well as a flatbed one, but with my 11" screen laptop,Wireless Internet dongle, my Hp H470 battery operated bluetooth printer,and this scanner,I really can take it all with me,and it takes up so little room.Your personal office doesn't get much smaller.
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on 27 April 2013
Not the easiest thing to use.

I wanted to collect lots of articles for research without having to check lots of books out of the library. Initially I tried scanning sideways across the page but even taking multiple scans of the same page doesn't always make sure you get a fully readable copy. The best way seems to be scanning vertically, one page at a time (obviously it depends on the book; some books have enough blank space on the page to get an ok horizontal scan). The problem I have when doing this is that I can never hold the thing perfectly steady and you end up with a couple of wobbly lines, but it is usually still readable when done this way.
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